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Yielden Castle

Hob Uid: 360674
Location :
Bedford
Melchbourne and Yielden
Grid Ref : TL0138066940
Summary : The scheduled monument includes the remains of a medieval castle mound with baileys to the north and west, and a series of banked and ditched enclosures arranged along its eastern side.
More information : TL 014670 Castle Hill (NR) (1)

Motte and bailey with outworks at TL 014669 (2), (see plan
attached (3)).

It stands, not on high ground, but towards the base of a long gradual slope, which continues to rise beyond the castle: "the extreme end of the outer bailey on the north is well above the level of the inner bailey" (4). From Domesday to the 13th century it was the stronghold of the Trailly family, but by 1360, had "falled entirely to decay" (3). The top of the mound is 40ft above the bottom of its north moat and small remains of stone foundations were discovered on it in 1882. The base of a stone wall was also found at the north west angle of the bailey, the base of two small round projecting towers at the south west angle and a length of stone foundation lining the south rampart. Excavations of the small mound situated opposite the two tower bases revealed the remains of a stone round tower with 4ft walls: there may have been a drawbridge over to the inner bailey at this point. Much stone burnt red was found, especially in the last mentioned round tower. (2-4)

Castle Hill (name confirmed); a stonge motte with two bailey's sited to the north and southwest, which in all covers three and a half ha. It is situated in permanent pasture in the valley of the River Til which flows from south to north in the western ditch.

The motte rises 9.5m above the bottom of its east ditch and its surface is scarred by extensive rabbit diggings. On the top, which for an unknown reason is stepped, can be seen a quantity of undressed stone burnt red. No foundation pattern is visible and the burning may be recent, there being traces of bonfires here.

The inner bailey to the southwest contains the only traces of building foundations, where at TL 01356647 is the outline of a stone structure 6.0m square. Fragmentary traces of foundations of the bailey wall are also visible. The ditch enclosing the motte and inner bailey is now mostly dry. It has a maximum width of 30.0m at the south west where the outer bank is 1.6m high.

No traces of buildings can be seen within the north bailey which elevates towards the north east angle. Both the north east and east ditches are dry with a maximum width of 16.0m. The west extension to the bailey shown on the VCH plan has been destroyed by realignment of the river, and no foundations are visible on the small island suggested above as a possible drawbridge site.

Ranged along the whole of the east and south east sides are a series of rectangular enclosures. The northerly ones seem to be contemporary with the main work, whilst those to the south are later and merge with the existing fields.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. (5)

The motte and bailey castle and surrounding cultivation and boundary ditches are as described above (Sources 1-5) and were mapped as part of the Bedford Borough NMP project from aerial photographs and lidar imagery. The outline of the main keep on the motte is visible along with outline of buildings in the inner baily; the square structure at TL 01349 66956 and some against the west rampart at TL 01326 66982. The northern outer bailey does appear to have building structures on the southern rampart at TL 01405 67028 and TL 01365 67038 and earthworks in the eastern corner (TL 01428 67030) suggest further buildings are likely in this area. A circular mound is visible at TL 01341 67035 in the southwest corner of the outer bailey and could be a drawbridge location between the outer and inner baileys. To the west on the Inner Baily is the western moat ditch which appears to have been later widened. At its southern end is a circular mound at TL 01299 66925 which during early excavations was discovered to retain the stone foundations of a medieval dovecote. To the east of the motte and baily are boundary ditches and banks forming enclosures and to the south are areas of medieval to post-medieval cultivation. (7-15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" 1960
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Norman castles in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 351
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Source Number : 11
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 21066/11-12 14-NOV-2000
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Source Number : 12
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 18984/1-2 14-NOV-2000
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Source Number : 13
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 18833/19-21 14-NOV-2000
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Source Number : 14
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 26104/19-23 08-OCT-2008
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Source Number : 15
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 26104/25-26 08-OCT-2008
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : The Victoria history of Berkshire, volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 289-291
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1, 1904
Source Number : 4
Source : The earthworks of Bedfordshire
Source details :
Page(s) : 145-9
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : First OS Archaeology Field Investigator 19/07/1977
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Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Schedule Entry 02/01/1996
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Source Number : 7
Source : Light detection and ranging (lidar) airborne survey
Source details : LIDAR TL0166/TL0167 Environment Agency 1M DTM 01 Oct 2014 - 31 May 2017
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Source Number : 8
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : CAP 8026/43 16-JUN-1951
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Source Number : 9
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : CAP 8158/8 26-APR-1954
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Source Number : 10
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 21051/11-12 14-NOV-2000
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Circa 1086-1360
Monument End Date : 1360
Monument Start Date : 1086
Monument Type : Motte And Bailey, Ditched Enclosure, Enclosure, Moat, Building Platform, Fishpond, Water Channel, Causeway, Ridge And Furrow, Building, Bastion, Tower, Dovecote, Castle
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : BD 22
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Bedfordshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 341
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27111
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1013520
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 06 NW 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 967408
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, YIELDEN CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1881-01-01
End Date : 1882-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TL 06 NW 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1977-07-19
End Date : 1977-07-19
Associated Activities : Primary, MIDDLE FARM, HIGH STREET, YIELDEN
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BEDFORD BOROUGH NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2016-02-01
End Date : 2019-05-03